The article presents the literary works foryouth by Lojze Kovačič (1928-2004) who mostly wrote for adults.He was born in Basel, Switzerland, but before the Second World War, the author's family had to leave Switzerland and they emigrated to the then Kingdom of Yugoslavia, to the birthplace of his father. As early as 1947, he began publishing in Slovene in the student newspaper “Mi mladi” (We Young). After 1950, he wrote short modern fairy tales for children with modernist elements typical of adult literature. This deliberate modernity already heralds a top author who, for example, translated Kafka for children. In his initial phase, he collaborated with illustrators (e.g., Milan Bizovičar), created comics with avant-garde art elements and wrote science fiction. The most famous is the collection of short contemporary fairy tales “Zgodbe iz mesta Rič-Rač” (Stories from the City of Rič-Rač, 1962- ) which has been reprinted several times and represents only a third of the author's oeuvre. Two-thirds are unpublished, scattered through various radio shows and magazines. The editor of Pionirski list, Marija Kovačič Vida, published texts by a whole generation of authors in the 1950s and 1960s. In the most famous anthologies, entitled “Za celo leto: priročnik iger in deklamacij” (For the Whole Year: A Handbook of Games and Declamations, 1960) and “Praznični koledar: pesmi, črtice in igre za šolske prireditve” (Holiday Calendar: Poems, Literary Sketches, and Games for School Events, 1976), she made an outstanding review of literary creativity intended for children and youth. Based on the study of the author's oeuvre for youth, we can easily conclude that the author is a pronounced modernist, as he used avant-garde approaches, elements of art deco, Bauhaus, camera obscura, puppets, mundus inversus, commercials, etc. He translated picturesque visual images into modernist texts for young people. At the end of the article, suggestions are given for a scientific-critical monograph dealing with the author's literary opus for youth which is characterized by translation of visual into verbal and vice versa (e.g., puppets, comics), as well as between other media. It is paradoxical that L. Kovačič in his literary worksintended for adults was rather critical of the socialist system in his second homeland (1945-1991), but he nevertheless published the most literary units for youth during this very period, and his work was also regularly included in the curricula (1984, 1998) and readers in schools, while in the latest curriculum from 2019 he is completely overlooked and omitted. Based on his writing, L. Kovačič is a truely European author. He died on 1 May 2004, the day Slovenia became a member of the EU and the intense oblivion of history began. L. Kovačič was one ofthe victims of this process.

Keywords: Lojze Kovačič, youth opus, art deco, avant-garde, Bauhaus, topsy-turvy world, camera obscura, puppets, radio, commercials.

Author Biography

Milena Mileva Blažić, Faculty of Education. University of Ljubljana. Ljubljana

Milena Mileva Blažić teaches in the Faculty of Education at the University of Ljubljana (humanities, literary sciencse). Her fields of interests include children's literature, comparatiave children’s literature, folk and fairy tales, picturebooks, the pedagogy of children's literature, and holocaust. Blažić’s publications include: BLAŽIČ, Milena. Comparative children's literature: comparative study of Slovene children's literature in an international context. 1st ed. Ljubljana: Faculty of Education, 2021. 512 str., ilustr. ISBN 978-961-253-287-1. [COBISS.SI-ID 82700035]


BLAŽIČ, Milena (debater), TROHA, Gašper (debater), RENKO, Manca G. (debater). Družbenoindružabno – LojzeKovačič, sodobni mladinsk i klasik (Social and Sociable – Lojze Kovačič: AModern Youth Classic): 16 June 2014, Mala drama SNG. Pogovor o romanu Otroške stvari Lojzeta Kovačiča.

BLAŽIČ, Milena. Arhetipi indvojnostiv kratkih sodobnih pravljicah (Archetypes and Dualities in Short Modern Fairy Tales). In: KOMELSNOJ, Mateja (ed.), KOVAČIČ, Lojze. (Fragments About a Newcomer: A Memorial Book by Lojze Kovačič). Ljubljana: Študentska založba, 2008, pp. 383-388.

BLAŽIČ, Milena. Lojze Kovačič – Mladinski klasik (Lojze Kovačič – Youth Classic. In: Mladinski klasiki: izbor člankovin razprav (Youth Classics: A Selection of Articles and Discussions). 1st ed.Ljubljana: Pedagoška fakulteta, 2016, pp. 131-137.

BLAŽIČ, Milena. Novosti vkratki sodobni pravljici Lojzeta Kovačiča – študij primera Zgodbe iz mesta Rič-Rač (Novelties in Lojze Kovačič’s Short Contemporary Fairy Tale – A Case Study of the Stories from the City of Rič-Rač). In: TROHA, Gašper(ed.), BLAŽIČ, Milena(ed.), LEBEN, Andrej(ed.). Lojze Kovačič: življenje in delo (Lojze Kovačič: Life and Work). Ljubljana: Študentska založba, 2009, pp. 152-169.

DRUKNER, Elina, KUMMERLINGMEIBAUER, Bettina. Children’s Literature and the Avant-Garde. Amsterdam; Philadelphia: J.Benjamins, 2015.

KEMPLERLE, Katja, BEŠTER, Tomaž. Bibliografija indigitalizacija mladinskih del Lojzeta Kovačiča, 1947-2010 (Bibliography and Digitization of Youth Works by Lojze Kovačič, 1947-2010). Ljubljana: Mestna knjižnica Ljubljana; Narodnain univerzitetna knjižnica; Osebniarhiv Blažić, M.M; Študentka založba. Zbirka Beletrina, 2010.

KOVAČIČ, Lojze, STEPANČIČ, Damijan. Zgodbe iz mesta Rič-Račin od drugod (Stories from the City of Rič-Rač and from Elsewhere).Ljubljana: Študentska založba; Zbirka Beletrina, 2011.

KOVAČIČ, Marija. Praznični koledar: pesmi, črtice in igre za šolske prireditve (Holiday Calendar: Poems, Literary Sketches, and Games for School Events) [selected and edited by Marija Kovačič and Leopold Suhodolčan; illustrated by Borut Pečar]. Ljubljana: Mladinska knjiga, 1976.

KOVAČIČ, Marija. Za celo leto: priročnik iger in deklamacij (For the Whole Year: A Handbook of Games and Declamations) [selected and edited by Marija Kovačič]. Ljubljana: Mladinska knjiga, 1960.

TROHA, Gašper (ed.), BLAŽIČ, Milena (ed.), LEBEN, Andrej(ed.). Lojze Kovačič: življenjeindelo (Lojze Kovačič: Life and Work). Ljubljana: Študentska založba, 2009.

TROHA, Gašper (ed.), BLAŽIČ, Milena (ed.), LEBEN, Andrej(ed.). Lojze Kovačič: življenje i ndelo (Lojze Kovačič: Life and Work), Zbirkae Beletrina. Ljubljana: Študentska založba, 2013.




How to Cite

Blažić, M. M. (2023). OVERLOOKED AVANT-GARDE IN THE YOUTH OPUS OF LOJZE KOVAČIČ. ANGLISTICUM. Journal of the Association-Institute for English Language and American Studies, 12(7), pp.11–31. https://doi.org/10.58885/ijllis.v12i7.11mb



Volume 12, No.7, July 2023

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